I was born into farming but, as a ‘geek’, I am mostly self-taught.
Like my father and grandfather, I grew up in a farmhouse in Scarisbrick. On my mother’s side, it was the same – farming, farming, farming.
We believe that five generations of Molyneuxs have grown vegetables in south-west Lancashire. Our history in the profession predates many of the record books so we cannot be sure. But, suffice to say, it’s as long as anyone remembers.
I feel farming is not a profession or a job. It is a life.
Call it knowledge, call it nous, but something seeps into your brain when you are a farmer’s son. Walking the fields, watching the weather, chatting with farming folk and, as a teenager, starting to work on the land. It is all part of the education. That said, I always knew I needed formal qualifications if I was going to adapt fully to the changes in modern farming.
I went to a school in nearby Ormskirk and then college in Orrell. By this time, science had grabbed my attention, in particular, astronomy. After all these years, my telescope still has pride of price in my house.
I won a place at Reading University to study Agriculture. It was great to add a scientific understanding to the practical knowledge I already possessed.
Working – the early years
After University, I furthered my knowledge in different ways. I worked on a farm near Heathrow and, in that period, transported grain around the airport area. I even got as far at Windsor Castle.
Then I spent 12 months travelling around Australia, working on farms and ski resorts. This gave me crucial knowledge in farming different terrain, as well as some less useful experience in kangaroo wrangling.
Farming in Lancashire
I returned home to become part of the farm owned by my father and uncle. These were the years in which I learnt the business side of the industry from the bottom up.
During that time we grew everything from the “original” rotation of potatoes, cabbage or brussels sprouts, cereals and carrots, to “newer” products such as parsley, rhubarb, celeriac and, of course, kale.
The family farm was sold in 2012 and I began Molyneux Kale Company the following year. It seemed sensible to concentrate on that product because a) it was our best product and b) the conditions were near-perfect.
My father and uncle offer advice and support to my new venture. It is something I value.
The history of Molyneux farming has been built upon knowledge and experience passed down the generations. The reputation of the Molyneux Kale Company is founded on blending that age-old understanding with cutting-edge innovation.
Away from the farm
I got bitten by a number of things in Australia, one of them was the skiing bug. My family and I make for the slopes in Europe every year.
Back home I am married, and have two daughters who are away at university. I therefore have a bit less of driving Dad’s taxi, but still have to help out looking after their horses which live here.
My wife runs a busy veterinary practice in Southport and we live in Halsall, just two miles away from the original Molyneux Farm.
Chris’ profile on Covent Garden Website